Case No. 18-cv-14-MJR-SCW
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION WILLIAMS, Magistrate Judge :
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, pro se Plaintiff Marlon Watford filed his complaint for deliberate indifference against Defendants for treatment of his IBS. This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (Doc. 3). Defendants have filed responses to the motion (Docs. 26 and 37).
The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams by United States District Judge Michael J. Reagan pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(B) and (c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and Local Rule 72.1(a). Based on the following, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court DENY Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction.
Plaintiff's claims in this case were severed from Watford v. Newbold , Case No. 17-cv-1252-MJR-SCW. As narrowed by the threshold order in this case (Doc. 1), Plaintiff's complaint alleges that he suffers from serious abdominal symptoms (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff began having severe stomach pains on March 18, 2015, accompanied by severe diarrhea (Id.). At some point in the past, Plaintiff had been diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and H. Pylori (Id.). Plaintiff went to the healthcare unit on March 18, 2015 and was seen by Jane Doe Nurse (Id.). She attributed his symptoms to IBS because his test for H. Pylori was negative (Id.). Plaintiff was not seen by Dr. Trost during that visit and was merely sent back to his cell (Id.). Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Fuentes and Nurse Grathler on March 20, 2015 (Id.). He again complained of his symptoms, which he believed were identical to the symptoms he experienced during his previous bouts of H. Pylori and IBS (Id.). Nurse Grathler, however, informed Plaintiff that he had GERD, although she did not perform any diagnostic tests on Plaintiff (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff requested a correct diagnosis and treatment, but Dr. Fuentes refused to perform any tests on Plaintiff (Id.).
Plaintiff consulted with Dr. Trost about his abdominal symptoms on March 29, 2015 (Doc. 1, p. 5). Dr. Trost also did not conduct any tests or prescribe medication but promised to send Plaintiff to an outside specialist. Plaintiff alleged that visit never took place (Id.).
Over a year later, on June 16, 2016, Plaintiff consulted with Nurse Susan Kirk about his abdominal symptoms, complaining of reoccurring bouts of stomach pain and burning, as well as bowel spasms (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff alleges that he also informed her that he had blood in his stool (Id.). He requested a referral to Dr. Trost, but was never seen by Trost (Id.). He alleges in his complaint that he submitted numerous requests slips in writing and orally from 2012 to the present about his medical condition (Doc. 2, p. 19).
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's request for preliminary injunction found in Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1, p. 29). Plaintiff requests an IBS breath test, endoscopy test, and 10 day antibiotic treatment of Xifaxan and Neomycin (Id.).
Defendants Dawn Grathler and Jacqueline Lashbrook, warden of Menard Correctional Center, filed a response (Doc. 26) in opposition to the motion. Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations. Defendants John Trost, Fe Fuentes, and Susan Kirk have also filed a response (Doc. 37) in opposition to Plaintiff's motion. Defendants argue that Plaintiff is not likely to succeed on the merits of his claims and that the treatment he seeks is not proper treatment for either IBS or H. Pylori. Defendants have offered the affidavit of Mohammed Siddiqui, the current medical director at Menard Correctional Center, where Plaintiff is incarcerated (Doc. 37-1). Defendants have also provided the Court with Plaintiff's medical records (Doc. 37-2).
Dr. Siddiqui testified in his affidavit that he has never seen Plaintiff for IBS. The last time Plaintiff complained of digestive issues was through a nurse sick call on July 22, 2017 while Plaintiff was on a writ at Stateville Correctional Center (Doc. 37-1, p. 1). At that time, Plaintiff was provided with Imodium and was told to return if his symptoms worsened (Doc. 37-2, p. 84-85). There is no indication in the record that he further complained about his condition there or upon his return to Menard Correctional Center.
Plaintiff was last seen for complaints of IBS on July 20, 2016 (Doc. 37-1, p. 2; 37-2, p. 68-69). He was at Stateville Correctional Center at that time on a court writ. He was given Imodium and Bentyl for his complaints of diarrhea and stomach pain but the medical records note that he refused to take the pills at that time but took the pills with him (Doc. 37-2, p. 68-69). It is not known whether he eventually took the medication as prescribed or the additional five day prescription for Imodium and Bentyl (Id.). Siddiqui testified that Plaintiff did not follow-up with the healthcare unit once he returned to Menard as he was directed to at Stateville (Doc. 37-1, p. 2; 37-2, p. 68). Siddiqui testified that Plaintiff testified positive for H. Pylori in 2014 but he was treated for the condition and that a subsequent test was negative (Id.; Doc. 37-2, p. 43, 107-108). Treatment for the condition includes antibiotics, Prilosec, and Zantac (Doc. 37-1, p. 2).
Dr. Siddiqui also testified that the treatment Plaintiff requested is not appropriate for IBS. Siddiqui testified that there is no diagnostic test for IBS, nor is there a "breath test" as Plaintiff requests (Doc. 37-1, p. 2). Further, an endoscopy is not a proper diagnostic tool for IBS (Id.). Dr. Siddiqui testified that IBS is usually diagnosed when a patient has complaints that are not explained by another diagnoses (Id.). The medication Bentyl, which reduces bowel spams, is usually prescribed to lessen symptoms. Antibiotics, however, are not an appropriate treatment (Id.). Siddiqui noted that Plaintiff was previously prescribed Bentyl while at Stateville Correctional Center but has not requested a re-fill while at Menard Correctional Center (Id.). Dr. Siddiqui also testified that Plaintiff refused the medication at Stateville, although the medical records reflect he refused to take the medication in the healthcare unit but was allowed to take the medication with him for later use if needed (Doc. 37-2, p. 69). Dr. Siddiqui testified that based on Plaintiff's medical history and lack of current complaints, he does not believe that an endoscopy or antibiotics is needed at this time (Doc. 37-1, p. 3).
Injunctions are extraordinary equitable remedies that are to be granted in civil cases only when specific criteria are clearly met by the movant. Mazurek v. Armstrong , 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997). The plaintiff must show four elements for an injunction: (1) plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) without an injunction irreparable harm against the plaintiff is likely; (3) the harm likely to be suffered by the plaintiff would be greater than the harm the injunction would inflict on defendants; and (4) the injunction is in the public interest. Id. The greater the likelihood that the plaintiff will succeed on the merits of the case, the less significant the likely harm against the plaintiff must be in relation to the harm the defendant will likely suffer due to an injunction. Id. According to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) injunctions in the prison context must be "narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive means necessary to correct that harm." 18 U.S.C.A. § 3626. Courts may issue preliminary injunctions only on notice to the adverse party. Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a)(1).
In the context of prisoner litigation, there are further restrictions on courts' remedial power. The scope of the court's authority to enter an injunction in the corrections context is circumscribed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Westefer v. Neal , 682 F.3d 679, 683 (7th Cir. 2012). Under the PLRA, preliminary injunction relief "must be narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive means necessary to correct that harm." 18 U.S.C. §3626(a)(2). See also Westefer , 682 F.3d at 683 (the PLRA "enforces a point repeatedly made by the Supreme Court in cases challenging prison conditions: prison officials have broad administrative and discretionary authority over the institutions they manage") (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
The Seventh Circuit has described injunctions like the one sought here, where an injunction would require an affirmative act by the defendant, as a mandatory preliminary injunction. Graham v. Med. Mut. of Ohio , 130 F.3d 293, 295 (7th Cir. 1997). Mandatory injunctions are "cautiously viewed and sparingly issued," since they require the court to command a defendant to take a particular action. Id. (citing Jordan v. Wolke , 593 F.2d 772, 774 (7th Cir. 1978)). See also W.A. Mack , Inc. v. Gen. Motors Corp., 260 F.2d 886, 890 (7th Cir. 1958) ("A preliminary injunction does not issue which gives to a plaintiff the actual advantage which would be obtained in a final decree.").
The undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Court FIND that Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that he is entitled to a preliminary injunction as he has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of his claims. Plaintiff's complaint alleges that Dr. Trost, Dr. Fuentes, Nurse Grathler, and Susan Kirk were deliberately indifferent in treating the symptoms of his IBS when he met with them in 2015 and 2016. However, other than mentioning in his complaint that he put in numerous requests for care for his medical problems and pains from 2012 to the present, Plaintiff fails to identify any current issues he is having or any current deliberate indifference that he is experiencing at the hands of the Defendants or any other healthcare provider at Menard Correctional Center.
There is no evidence in the record of any current deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's care. The allegations in Plaintiff's complaint only reference two specific events in March 2015 and June 2016. There is no evidence in the record that Plaintiff has requested medical care for his digestive issues since July 2017. At that time, he was provided with Imodium for his complaints of diarrhea. Plaintiff was last seen for reports of IBS in July 2016, while at Stateville Correctional Center, and was provided with mediation, which the records reflect that he did not take at that time. Plaintiff was specifically provided with Benytl, which Dr. Siddiqui testified was a common treatment for the symptoms related to IBS, but Plaintiff did not take the medication during the visit as directed. It is not known from the record whether Plaintiff ever took the prescribed medication, but he was directed to follow-up with the healthcare unit at Menard Correctional Center when he returned from his writ and there is no evidence that he did so. There are also numerous health status transfer summaries from 2017 through 2018 in the record, where Plaintiff's health was reviewed upon transfer to another prison, and Plaintiff never voiced any complaints of IBS during those reviews (Doc. 37-2, p. 118-145). In fact, on a number of the summaries, it is noted that Plaintiff voiced no current medical concerns (Id. at p. 118, 125, 128, 132, 137, 141).
There is no evidence in the record that Plaintiff is suffering from any current untreated symptoms. Plaintiff fails to identify any current symptoms in his complaint and the medical records reflect that he has not sought care for any symptoms since July 2017. As such, the undersigned finds that Plaintiff has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits such that a preliminary injunction would be warranted.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Accordingly, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court DENY Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (Doc. 3).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 73.1(b), the parties may object to any or all of the proposed dispositive findings in this Recommendation. The failure to file a timely objection may result in the waiver of the right to challenge this Recommendation before either the District Court or the Court of Appeals. See , e.g., Snyder v. Nolen , 380 F.3d 279, 284 (7th Cir. 2004). Accordingly, Objections to this Report and Recommendation must be filed on or before August 24 , 2018.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: August 7, 2018.
/s/ Stephen C. Williams
STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS
United States Magistrate Judge